NJ Fights for Summer Flounder Status Quo
This month, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Board rejected maintaining the status quo in regards to Summer Flounder take, even with support from the DEP Commissioner and Rep. Frank Pallone.
The Board instead approved the adoption of Option 5 which would result in New Jersey facing a three Summer Flounder bag limit, a 19″ size limit and a 128 day season.
This option appears to be the least restrictive of the five options in the addendum and could actually be overruled by NOAA later if it is determined that this option does not result in the mandated reduction. Each state in the region now has approximately two months to develop regulations to comply with Option 5; however, the state of New Jersey has already decided it will not comply with this mandate.
The next ASMFC meeting in May will begin the process of the Board determining whether New Jersey is out of compliance and what that means for the fishery. The final decision, if it comes to this, would come from the Secretary of Commerce.
ASA Opposes Connecticut Legislation to Ban Lead Fishing Tackle
The sportfishing community’s advocacy efforts were successful in garnering enough support from leaders on the Environment Committee in the Connecticut State Senate to defeat H.B. 5876; legislation that would have banned the manufacture, sale, and use of fishing tackle containing lead throughout the state.
ASA joined with other leading recreational fishing organizations in sending a letter earlier this month to urge leaders on the Committee to oppose this harmful bill. This legislation would have placed severe regulations on recreational fishing tackle, which would have had a significant negative impact on Connecticut’s anglers and sportfishing businesses.
House Representatives Succeed in Blocking Marine Sanctuary Designation
Reps. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) recently announced a major victory for New Jersey’s recreational fishing industry: the withdrawal of the Baltimore Aquarium’s nomination of the Baltimore Canyon as a national marine sanctuary.
This nomination could have led to restrictions and/or prohibitions on recreational fishing near south New Jersey. Restrictions on fishing activity in this region could have negative economic impacts for the many coastal communities that rely on business generated by local recreational fishing in their continuing recovery process after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.